Annual figures for the manufacturing sector show that the UK is still the world’s ninth largest manufacturing nation and the average wage in the sector is higher than people think.
The findings come from Make UK’s annual interactive analysis of the sector. In total, manufacturing output was worth £183 billion in 2020, 15 per cent of which originated in the North West. This means the North West retains its title as the largest manufacturing region by output, comfortably beating the South East (13 per cent) and the West Midlands (12 per cent) into second and third place respectively.
The North West also ranks top for the total number of people employed in the sector (319,000) and for manufacturing salary as a percentage of the regional average. Dispelling the myth that manufacturing jobs are poorly paid, the research shows that the average manufacturing job pay in the North West is 32.1 per cent higher than the rest of the regional economy, compared to 12 per cent higher in the UK as a whole.
When breaking down the figures by sub-sector, food and drink contributes the highest proportion of manufacturing’s gross value added (GVA) to the economy (17 per cent), while transport manufacture makes up the largest proportion of exports (17.2 per cent).
Globally, the UK ranks tenth in the world as an exporter of goods, with the USA the largest destination (£42.2 billion). This is followed by Germany (£32.4 billion), Ireland (£21.6 billion), the Netherlands (£19.7 billion) and France (£18.6 billion).
These countries have remained the UK’s top export destinations for some time, although research shows that exporters are increasingly at other growth regions going forward such as China, the Middle East and Indian subcontinent.